Feelings of pride are associated with grit in student-athletes and recreational runners

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Abstract

Grit is an adaptive trait that predicts achievement outcomes in various contexts. However, little is known about the factors that predict grit in achievement domains such as sport and exercise. Using the broaden-and-build theory as the guiding framework, we sought to test a model whereby feelings of pride predicted grit across two separate samples. Undergraduate athletes (N = 109) and recreational long-distance runners (N = 116) completed questionnaires at a single time-point. In study 1, state pride was positively associated with grit (r = 0.26, p = .003). No gender differences were observed. In study 2, both global and fitness-related pride were assessed to determine their association with grit. Inverse associations between global pride and grit were noted for authentic (β = 0.33, p < .001) and hubristic (β = −0.26, p = .003) pride. Only fitness-related authentic (β = 0.42, p = .003), but not hubristic (β = 27, p = .053), pride was a significant predictor of grit. Findings provide initial insight into pride and grit in sport and exercise contexts. Partial support for the broaden-and-build theory was found. Specifically, experiences of pride are associated with grit, but only when success is attributed to one's own effort. Attributing success to innate ability or superiority may result in reduced persistence and interest toward goal attainment. Given these findings, it may be important to create opportunities to experience authentic pride to develop grit.

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